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Coliseum head says Raiders will return

The Raiders have agreed to return to Oakland for the 1995 season under an offer the Oakland Coliseum board is expected to formally make today, stadium president George Vukasin said Thursday.

The Coliseum board of directors is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. EDT to vote on a letter of intent for the Raiders' move, and if it is approved, Raiders managing general partner Al Davis reportedly has assured negotiators he will sign it.

Oakland's package has remained essentially the same for months _ and was never sweetened even as Davis was heavily courted by proponents of a new $250-million stadium at Inglewood's Hollywood Park.

Davis, who Wednesday claimed, "I don't know what's going on," could not be reached for comment. Team spokesman Mike Taylor would not say whether he was in the bay area or southern California. Raiders attorney Amy Trask was in Oakland on Thursday going over details of the deal.

Area fans and negotiators have been buzzing excitedly since Wednesday, when word leaked out from several sources that an agreement bringing the Raiders back was nearing completion.

"Once (today) happens, it's as good as done," said former Alameda County supervisor Don Perata, who has played a key role in talks to bring the Raiders back since the 1980s. "There will be a lot of heavy lifting left after that _ working out details on bond agreements, picking a contractor and things like that _ but that's just happy work."

Oakland's offer is for a $90-million modernization of the Coliseum that would add 15,000 seats and 120 luxury boxes. The work would be paid for by government bonds to be repaid mostly through the sales of season-ticket rights and game tickets.

In an interview with San Francisco's Chronicle, Vukasin said the Raiders have agreed to sign the deal. The package would then require approval from the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors _ both of which plan to take action Tuesday.

"The deal as proposed is satisfactory to a majority of the members of both boards," Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris said.

The team has been playing at the Los Angeles Coliseum since moving south in 1982, but Davis has declared it will not play at the aging facility this fall.

Davis also has been considering relocating to a $250-million stadium that would be built at Hollywood Park in Inglewood and be ready by 1997.

If the Raiders do leave Los Angeles, the city might not have to wait long for a team. Bill Bidwill's Cardinals might be willing to migrate farther west.

"The door is not shut on a move," Cardinals general counsel Thomas Guilfoil told the Tribune Newspapers in a story published Thursday.

Bidwill, who has said he'll keep the team in Arizona, is said to be unhappy that Phoenix officials haven't followed through on what he believes was a commitment to eventually build him a new stadium, preferably a domed one.

Around the NFL

Lions: Wide receiver Anthony Carter, an unrestricted free agent, has re-signed. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Packers: Jim McMahon may soon find himself wearing green and gold as Green Bay's backup quarterback. The Packers are among three teams looking at McMahon, 35, an unrestricted free agent, Steve Zucker, McMahon's agent, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Redskins: Linebacker Terry Crews and wide receiver Rod Moore from the World League signed. The two come from Germany's Rhein Fire.

Jets: New York signed Richie Anderson, its halfback-fullback, to a three-year contract.

Seahawks: Third-year wide receiver Michael Bates signed.

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